Ahead of their Manchester EP launch on 31st March, Gigslutz’ Jason Holmes reviews the second offering from North Manchester five piece Ladies’ Darts Night.
With the opener, ‘Shopkeeper’, something gothic and uniquely of North Manchester invades this record, the song’s title almost being the name of a horror film from the Amicus Productions stable. “Get down on your knees/because nothing comes for free” comes the lyric, only it falls not from the lips of Peter Cushing but rather from the maw of Tom Milnes. His voice is youthfully embittered, old before its time, the song both a lament and a call to arms. It comes at you swinging with both fists and is a disquieting opening, the vocal beginning with muted anger before lifting itself into a rage, once more commonly felt on the terraces and conveying anger at modern-day Britain’s cultural and social dysfunction.
Vocally discordant and melodically unnerving, it’s wholly genuine, as is the happy music of ‘Message for May’, despite the opening line of “I want to strangle you with both hands around your neck”. The lads are having fun here, with an obvious, blackly-humoured nod made in the direction of Morrissey.
The musical accomplishment continues with ‘Bath’ that melds the vocal abrasiveness of Sleaford Mods with the precise steel-string chord resolution of Blur (an accurate though undoubtedly unfair comparison, admittedly). Milnes sings sweetly like the late Ian Curtis, and then barks like a costermonger.
Wrapping up with the stand-out track, ‘Catalogue’, one is unexpectedly reminded of Gil Scott Heron’s ‘The Revolution Will Not be Televised’. As invective, suffused with rhyming couplets and blank verse, it succeeds. Delivered across a spaced-out rock landscape that fades into the music of the spheres, we see a band expressing an intelligence that has been missing of late in the mainstream; the hook within this four-track EP is that the vocal delivery sits at odds with the sinuous musical arrangements.
“Real news, fake news, a billion views,” finally comes the enraged vocal. It’s direct, it’s punk, and more to the point, it’s a refreshing sound with serious intent and dry-as-a-bone humour – and this Mancunians do very well indeed.
And the band’s name? Well, it’s a hint at and a remembrance of the type of community that is being dismembered by Westminster’s policies. Bring on the long player because this is a welcome shot across the bows.